Church members get out of the building, and into the community

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About 120 members of Bristol's First Congregational Church fanned out into the community Sunday for the church's second annual Church Has Left the Building event.

Volunteers donned bright orange-colored vests and lent a helping hand at Coggeshall Farm, washed windows along Hope Street, and even paid for strangers' laundry at local laundromats.

"This means a lot to me," said a surprised Robin Cooper. Ms. Cooper, a Bristol resident, was busy stuffing dirty clothes into a washing machine at East Bay Laundromat when she was approached by Jennifer Bryant with a handful of quarters.

"Ten dollars may not seem like a lot," she said, "but it is to me. I used to have laundry in my apartment, but not anymore."

Out at Coggeshall Farm, dozens of volunteers worked to clear land leading to a cheese house that had been hidden by the overgrowth. Others raked leaves and cut wood for the impending winter months.

"It's almost foolish to ask a farmer if they need any help," joked Jonny Larson, executive director of the Coggeshall Farm Museum. "We're always in need of help. It doesn't get done without volunteers."

Church members also visited with elderly residents at St. Elizabeth's Manor and picked up littler along the East Bay Bike Path by Sip n' Dip.

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